Lentils are a real staple of a vegetarian diet, but they can be pretty boring. Thankfully, I’ve spent some time perfecting my lentil soup recipe, which is perfect for a gloomy fall or winter day. It also incorporates several veggies that are easy to come by in the fall and winter.
Yes, those are both orange and yellow carrots — makes me nostalgic for our CSA, which just ended its season last week.
This is a meal you can start early in the day, let simmer on the stove, and even mellow in the fridge for a bit before you heat it back up for dinner. It’s almost always better on the second day, so leftovers are a must. Serve it with a nice, thick slice of beer bread, and it’s great comfort food.
It also freezes well, so I always make a big batch. Hurray for an easy dinner some night down the road!
I love making beer bread with this meal, and it’s so easy it’s almost an afterthought. These recipes definitely go hand-in-hand.
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp ground cumin
a handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
a handful of fresh marjoram, leaves picked and chopped
2 bay leaves
8 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped*
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp tomato paste**
8 cups vegetable broth
1 lb Du Puy lentils
2 Tbsp red wine
freshly grated parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, cumin, thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, 1 tsp salt and several good grinds of black pepper. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the celery and carrots. Cook for another 10 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the diced tomatoes. Add the tomato paste, broth, and lentils to the pot. Bring to boil over high heat, covered, and then turn the heat off and let it sit for 20 minutes (this helps them cook more evenly).
Bring heat back on and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 40 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the wine.
Serve sprinkled with a bit of parmesan cheese and drizzed with a touch of olive oil.
* I’m not a big fan of celery (although I do like the flavor in soups), so I chop it finely to avoid getting a bite with a big chunk of celery. Modify to your taste!
** Did you know tomato paste comes in tubes you can just keep in your fridge? I didn’t until fairly recently. So convenient.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 12-ounce beer***
Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a loaf pan. Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in beer and mix well. Place the dough in the pan and bake for 1 hour. Let cool, remove from pan and eat. Voila!
*** I like to use Shiner Bock, since it gives the bread a great flavor and we usually have it around anyway, but you can use any beer. Just go for a darker brew, since it will give the bread a nice flavor.